New Zealand vs. England, 2nd Test, Day 5 – Inevitability

It only took me around 2 overs last night to realise there was more chance of Colin Graves turning into a forward thinking and pragmatic administrator than there was in seeing some sort of positive of result in the 2nd Test. Some may rue the early missed opportunities on the morning of Day 5 with Ollie Pope putting down what would be a regulation catch for a full time wicketkeeper (which he is not and should never have been put in that position) and then Joe Denly dropping a sitter off Jofra Archer, but in all reality it wouldn’t have mattered. The pitch was the type of pudding that makes those cricket administrators that actually value the Test game have sleepless nights and of course England’s decision not to play a frontline spinner was made to look just as stupid as we all thought it would.

It’s difficult to know what England have got out of such a small Test series, other than another defeat and it drives me mad that we had 5 games of hit and giggle when a 3rd Test would have been far preferable but that’s what we get these days, a load of pointless white ball games to try and make the tours profitable. It’s a sad indictment of the health of the game. The main headline is naturally that England have failed to win a Test series in 2019 for the first time in 20 years. Again this should be a damning indictment on the ECB, as a so called member of the Big 3; however the ECB have made it plainly clear that they simply don’t care about the longer format of the game, they’d rather con fans into attending a white elephant of a competition that will make a small few richer and many more much poorer. In reality this series was simply a carbon copy of the New Zealand tour of 2018 with the hosts dominating a rather feeble touring team who have yet to work out how to take 20 wickets away from home (hint – dropping your frontline spinner isn’t the answer) and a batting unit that is both inexperienced and shorn of confidence. There may have been talk before the series about learning to bat properly in Test’s again instead of playing an aggressive brand of cricket which can be best described as reckless, but in the end the results have been the same. The best batsmen in the world know how to time their innings in Test cricket and know when to attack and when to defend, but unfortunately England don’t have very many of these, hence the need for the coaches to come up with sweeping statements in how they should approach their innings.

If this seems overly gloomy then I apologise, but I do feel as I did with the Ashes which resulted in another defeat, that the glass is half empty with this team rather than half full. Sure, there were positives that can be taken out of this series such as Joe Root finally regaining the hunger and application to make big runs in Test Cricket. Rory Burns has also cemented his spot at the top of the order and is beginning to look like a proper Test opener, even if he does seem prone to the odd brain fart at times. It was also good to see Ollie Pope make some runs in Test cricket as I do believe he has the talent to be one of our best batsmen in the future, though I would naturally prefer it if the selectors didn’t try and make it even harder for him to succeed by giving him the gloves or moving him up the order away from his natural position. C’est plus change! I can’t though buy into the captain’s statements after the Test series mind, with Root commenting after the 2nd consecutive defeat this year:

I feel like we’re a more rounded team for being out here, we got ourselves in a position in that first game where we could have gone on and put them under huge amounts of pressure, made a big first-innings score just like we did this week.

“It could have looked very different. But one thing I’m really proud of is the way we learned the lessons quickly from that.”

I personally don’t buy into being proud of a team that has just lost another series unless you were running the 1980’s West Indian team or the early 2000’s Australian team close. New Zealand are a good side with a decent bowling attack, 1 world class batsman and a couple of other international class batsmen, but certainly not a team I’d be proud to lose against. Sure, Root has got to say the right things on camera, but I’d have preferred him to look at what they didn’t do well and commit to do these better. Indeed, there were a number of weaknesses that this team displayed and areas that they can improve on. We still can’t perform with the Kookaburra ball away from home, with the England quicks (probably excluding Stuart Broad) looking less than potent; Jofra Archer has in particular had a poor tour and I do wonder whether Root’s overuse of him during the Ashes has led to the fact that his pace has been down all series. England also need to decide on a frontline spinner and to stick with him. I have no problem at all with it being Jack Leach as he is a tidy bowler with the ability to keep things tight and pick up the odd wicket. He isn’t going to run through a team at Test level, but then again, I’m not sure whether we have one of those spinners in the English setup, but we simply can’t be picking 5 seamers in future. There has to be questions around Sibley, Buttler and Denly, whilst the former should be given the rest of the winter despite his struggles in this series, Buttler definitely needs some competition as his statistics don’t smack of Test Match batsman (Ed – Pick a bloody reserve wicket keeper for South Africa for the love of god!) and whilst the latter is improving in the Test format of the game, he is 34 and needs to turn these 60’s and 70’s into a big century to fully justify his inclusion above a younger talent.

So, we head to South Africa and whilst their board are doing the best impression of the ECB, the cricket on the field isn’t going to get any easier. In fact, this winter schedule seems to have been designed to break some of our cricketers especially Ben Stokes (who was asked to do his best impression of David Saker’s bowling manual at times last night), so there is a good chance things could get worse rather than better.

Another series and another defeat is not what we wanted or hoped for to start the winter with; however, it could easily be argued that ECB have got exactly what they deserved. It’s not a particularly pleasant feeling for fans of the national team mind.

Feel free to share any thoughts on the series below.

36 thoughts on “New Zealand vs. England, 2nd Test, Day 5 – Inevitability

  1. Mark Dec 3, 2019 / 12:55 pm

    Well, listening to Agnew and Ramps on Five live last night before the start of play the tour has been fine, Root is back in form, we have a lot of younger players making their way and will get better, and we can’t expect much more because the pitches are flat. Oh and the players are now playing a new form of cricket that emphasis batting long for big scores, So it’s all good. Delusional????

    The ECB must have been delighted with this assessment. No danger of any of them losing their accreditation.

    It’s over folks, test cricket is dying and I don’t believe anything can turn it round. The money comes from the shorter form of the game, and that in turn will create players who have the skills for that form of the game. It’s a self for-filling prophecy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rohan Dec 3, 2019 / 1:31 pm

    Lots I could say, but one thing I totally agree with you on Sean: it should have been 3 tests or more, 2 is just pathetic…..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jennyah46 Dec 3, 2019 / 2:09 pm

    A good article Sean. I’m with you all the way.

    It definitely should have been 3 tests, we should have had a reserve keeper and Archer has been poorly managed. We don’t want to see another KP all be it with the ball.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. man in a barrel Dec 3, 2019 / 2:24 pm

    Wasn’t Leach hospitalised with gastro-enteritis at the start of this match? Mind you it would be good to have another spin option for this sort of eventuality

    Like

    • Sean Dec 3, 2019 / 3:30 pm

      It was actually on Day 2 of the match. He was dropped on form rather than illness.

      Like

    • thebogfather Dec 4, 2019 / 1:33 pm

      I presume UMPIRE BELL is a modern ump? Thus relying on DRS (BOC) to make a decision/comment instead of taking ownership themself? NO BALLS (Wot overstepping?)

      Please prove us wrong…

      Like

      • thebogfather Dec 4, 2019 / 1:38 pm

        btw – there are some nice and varied links and posts on your blog from all eras and aspects

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ian Gillies Bell Dec 4, 2019 / 4:44 pm

        Now come on Bog you should never presume fella. I found it a good article and agree on all of the points Sean has highlighted. Just the two Tests is/was a crazy decision as well as not going with a frontline spinner, tbh I would have given Parky a run out. But hey ho, what do I know, and don’t get me going on that Hundred stuff, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

        Liked by 1 person

    • James Dec 4, 2019 / 4:32 pm

      RIP Uncle Bob.

      Like

    • Sean Dec 4, 2019 / 4:34 pm

      Awful news. RIP Bob

      Like

      • Mark Dec 4, 2019 / 5:49 pm

        Just heard the news. Very, very sad, and I must admit I’m quite shocked!! I met him once in a bar in Gloucestershire in the mid 1980s. He had not long retired from the game and was playing in a local charity match. I shook his hand and said thanks for 1981.

        8/43

        Like

    • LordCanisLupus Dec 4, 2019 / 6:03 pm

      Just picked this news up. Really, terribly sad. The verdict will never be the same again. He made it.

      As a bowler, as was said elsewhere. 8 for 43. No more to be said.

      Like

    • dlpthomas Dec 5, 2019 / 3:54 am

      Terribly sad news. I first saw Bob Willis bowl in the 1970/71 Ashes. We had Big Bad Bob tearing in like a headless chook and they had Alan “Froggy” Thompson bowling off the front foot like a “frog in a windmill.” I loved John Snow and Simon Jones but Bob was always my favorite England fast bowler.

      Like

  5. Marek Dec 7, 2019 / 4:10 pm

    Reads squad for SA and bangs hand against head in frustration….

    One or two old familiars in here. Recall of a keeper-batsman who’s literally not played a red-ball –or even 50-over–match since being dropped, despite having an alternative who’s a way better keeper and could hardly be in worse form as a batsman: check!

    Selection of a fast bowler whose date of availability due to recovery from injury is “currently unknown”, and who won’t travel with the tour party: check! I could just about understand this if this was a tour party selected two days after the English season for an Ashes series starting on Nov 27th–although it worked spectacularly badly there in 2002!–, but the first test is in less than three weeks for God’s sake.

    And the bowler’s played two (count ’em) red-ball matches in fifteen months due to injury, the most recent in February, and has an injury record as long as Boris Johnson’s nose. And he’s 30 before the series ends, so not a spring chicken. (Stone I could understand, sort of, but Wood? Again? The man who halfway into his second match in a row magically turns from Brett Lee into Craig Overton?) What could possibly go wrong?

    Meanwhile Ali is confidently predicted to be back for the SL series, but I notice he’s been signed up as a well-paid player in the PSL literally yesterday. I wouldn’t be so sure….

    Like

    • Marek Dec 7, 2019 / 5:15 pm

      …and that’s before we even get to the continuing fantasy of Chris Woakes–South African/Australian pitch overseas test bowler….

      Like

  6. dlpthomas Dec 12, 2019 / 6:55 am

    Good first session in Perth. Wagner in the wickets again

    Like

  7. dlpthomas Dec 14, 2019 / 12:04 pm

    The Kiwi’s are really struggling in Perth. The next Ashes series could be very one-sided yet again.

    Like

    • dlpthomas Dec 14, 2019 / 12:18 pm

      and Australia promptly loose 5 for 29. Will I ever learn?

      Like

  8. Mark Dec 17, 2019 / 9:45 pm

    Exhibit 5479 that the ECB just pull shit out of its arse….

    “A new batsman will be on strike even if the wicket came via a catch and the batsmen crossed while running (except at the change of ends).

    Trent Woodhill, who worked with the ECB as a consultant on the project, explained the thinking at Trent Bridge last year. “The bowler has created an advantage by taking a wicket,” he said. “There’s got to be a reward for that, and he gets to take advantage by being able to bowl at the new batsman.”

    So cricket is now run by so called clever dick consultants? I hope this pile of shite sinks, taking down everyone on board, without trace.

    Like

    • quebecer Dec 18, 2019 / 2:11 am

      Without meaning to be overly critical, Mark, I think you could have omitted the words “so called” and “clever”.

      Like

    • Marek Dec 18, 2019 / 9:46 am

      I have to say that, of the many things I hate about the Hundred, this one didn’t really bother me. I’ve never quite understood the logic for the rule anyway.

      I was wondering: does the same thing apply if you’re given out obstructing the field, or for handling the ball [is that two dismissals or one now? I can’t remember] for something that happened after the batsmen crossed? Logically, it should.

      Like

      • Mark Dec 18, 2019 / 5:11 pm

        I hate everything about the 16.4, and all who sail in her!

        Like

    • Marek Dec 18, 2019 / 9:41 am

      “Happily, [David] Richardson was on hand to turn CSA’s bloodless organisation-speak into something more human…”

      You know you’re in a bad way when David Rchardson is the human face of your organisation! The dictionary definition of “bloodless corporate rubbish” probably says David Richardson.

      Like

  9. Mark Dec 18, 2019 / 5:05 pm

    As usual you are right sir! No need for those extra words. “Clever” is certainly an oxymoron in this case.

    What reward will be given to the batsman if say he hits a six? They are just making up a new game.

    Like

    • Mark Dec 18, 2019 / 5:09 pm

      That should have been in response to Quebecer.

      Like

  10. dlpthomas Dec 21, 2019 / 9:34 am

    The BBL game between the Thunder and the Strikers has been halted due to smoke from the bush fires. As the players left the field, the loudspeakers started playing Smoke on the Water.

    Like

    • dArthez Dec 21, 2019 / 10:44 am

      That is a rather unusual stoppage. We have had smog in India causing delays as well. I wonder what the most unusual / original / weirdest cause of a stoppage is in the history of the professional game.

      Like

      • dlpthomas Dec 21, 2019 / 2:20 pm

        I remember a swarm of bee’s stopping a game once. That was pretty weird.

        Like

        • quebecert Dec 21, 2019 / 10:41 pm

          I played in a game once that was stopped by a pack of dogs.

          And another when our opening bowler made his way back to his mark…and then kept going before starting to sprint off the field and chase some bloke walking by who’d shouted out something racial. We all kind of stood there while they disappeared down the street. No one was quite sure what to do.

          Happier times.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Marek Dec 22, 2019 / 5:54 pm

        What about today’s England game–four-hour stoppage, terminal to the game, because the visitors couldn’t be fucked any more?

        And they wonder why some people are reluctant to watch multi-day cricket nowadays…

        Like

    • dArthez Dec 22, 2019 / 10:18 am

      Done some research and found a few wonderful delays.

      Nathan Lyon caused a delay once (domestic game) by causing the fire alarms to go off. He burnt his toast.

      Some idiots released a pig onto the field in Australia during an ODI in 1983. Must not have been too happy with Botham and Hemmings.

      Someone in India managed to drive his car onto the field. He was probably coming for drive-thru cricket. Probably a fan that the ECB would be happy with as the Hundred is probably 94 balls too long, according to these visionaries in 5 years’ time. The only downside is, that apparently the driver was extremely drunk, and I am not sure that 6 balls will be enough time for anyone to get that wasted.

      India and England once suffered a delay in a Test due to a total solar eclipse in Mumbai. As Tests still had a rest day then, it was decided that the rest day would be brought forward to accommodate this.

      Play was delayed for ten minutes when Daryll Cullinan, in a South African domestic match, smacked a ball for a six. It landed in a BBQ stove. It took some time before the ball was found. The delay was caused by the need for the ball to cool down – it was a bit too hot to hold for the bowlers.

      Oh, and yes, bright sunlight has caused a delay in a New Zealand – India ODI earlier this year. The issue was that it was getting into the eyes of the batsmen while on strike.

      Liked by 1 person

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